In this episode, I delve deep into anger, and share the tools and techniques that help me let go of anger and live a more peaceful life. Please feel free to leave a comment below, and or add to the conversation. Thanks for reading!
Hey Folks, Here's another podcast transcript. FYI, I've been posting them because some of you expressed to me how you rather read the transcripts than to listen to the podcast. I hope you enjoy.
Hello Everyone, Welcome to the podcast “Close to the Bone.” I’m Carl Vreeland, your host. This is episode #51, it’s called, “How to Let Go of Anger.”
It’s been a while since I last published a podcast episode, but I’m back, and it’s certainly good to be back in the podcast seat. During my hiatus, I had a few of you ask me about anger, saying that, “Well, I agree with you Carl, holding on to anger is toxic and destructive. It certainly negatively impacts my life and the people around me, including my loved ones. I’d like to let go of my anger when it arises, as you suggest, but how do I do that?” Well, I hear you loud and clear. I had no idea how to do it either at first. Yes, it sounds logical, it makes sense; holding on to anger toward people or staying angry because things aren’t going our way is self-destructive, to put it frankly. We can get angry at just about anything. . . it rained on the day that I planned a picnic, do you believe it! My best friend bailed out last minute on dinner plans, I can’t count on him any longer. The woman I met at the gym didn’t return my call, how rude! And on and on. Such is life. Yet we get anger about such things. Of course, occasionally things turn more challenging at times. . . we get Covid-19 a week before our trip to France and have to cancel our long-awaited vacation. We get a letter from our landlord announcing a rent increase. You get the picture. Yes, again and again, things crop up. We can’t get a break. We get frustrated and angry. Some of us eventually get bitter and distrusting of life. We slowly, without even realizing it, turn into angry, cynical people.
Now, the reality is that things will always crop up in life. The practice (my first suggestion), is to not anticipate the other shoe dropping. We don’t want to go around living life guarded all the time, waiting for bad news, this is no way to live. Some of us get to a point that when things are going too well, we think bad news is just around the corner; life is just going too well. Of course, this is a bad way to live, always anticipating something tragic, living with dread. The positive approach to living life would be more like this; live life happily and when things happen, deal with them then. For sure, we can prevent things from happening, by thinking before we act. For example, if we’re running late to an appointment, and we chance speeding on the highway, we shouldn’t get bent out of shape if we get pulled over and get a summons. Let’s say this happens, we get pulled over, practice pausing (my second suggestion). When anger starts to arise, nip it in the bud (suggestion three). Practice self-talk (suggestion four). “OK, I was speeding, I took a chance, the cop is only doing his job, calm down, it’s not the end of the world. I can always go to court and try to have the points lowered or removed. For sure, I should give myself more time in the future, so I don’t have to speed and get all anxious about getting somewhere on time.” See, in most cases, through self-talk, we begin to see our role in the situation, and where we are at fault. More than that, at the end of the day, we should reflect on our day (suggestion five), especially on the events that challenged us. No doubt, we will see more clearly, if we haven’t already. We will see our part in it all and how we could have avoided it or handled it better. By the way, I’m listing and numbering all the suggestive key points, and I will print them at the bottom of the podcast transcript. This way you’ll have a reference if need be. I’ll explain further at the end.
OK, so, here’s another example. . . let’s say after your first date with someone, you call the person up for a second date. Why not? The date went very well in your view. But the person says they’re not interested. And that although they had fun on the date, they’re not ready to get involved. Sure, rejection is hard. And of course, we will inevitably think and feel that we are not good looking enough, smart enough, and so on. Again, nip it in the bud. Stop the negative self-talk (suggestion six). It doesn’t serve us well. It would be another thing if person said we were too pushy on the first date. In that case, we should reflect, and again, not get angry. Maybe the person is right, or maybe they’re wrong. In either case, why get angry? It doesn’t help. Think about it. How does it help? OK, you might say, but it’s offensive, who do they think they are? Well, I propose letting go of that thought. A better question to ask would be, why do I feel offended? Because we can’t change or control what people say to us, but we can change our reaction to the things they say and do. This is how we get down to the nitty gritty; our low self-esteem, our insecurities, and fears, and our egos; they are they cause of most of our feelings of being offended and hurt.
See, we get angry most of the time because we are taking things personally. Something hits our ego. We get hurt and it’s a blow to our ego, so we get angry. Why? Well, because we are sensitive, because we have. . . perhaps, low self-esteem. And so we base our self-worth on the opinion of others. More than that, we don’t want to feel hurt because it makes us feel vulnerable. And we want to protect ourselves from further hurt. So what do we do, we protect ourselves; by getting angry, like a lion. And this turns into habit. Indeed, without doing the inside work, without discovering and developing our self-worth, without finding the courage to be vulnerable, without being OK with feeling hurt, and hence growing into compassionate, understanding evolved beings, we remain slaves to our emotions and to our primal mechanisms.
Now, if you’re feeling uncomfortable and becoming unreasonable listening to this, it’s understandable. See, it’s easier to blame others. They were rude, they were offensive, they made me angry, they ruined my day. But if we want to learn how to let go of anger, we have to changed our mindset. We have to change our minds . Look, you’re probably listening to this podcast episode because you’re tired of being so easily angered, sick of being so affected by others, and fed up with living with the toxicity of anger. Perhaps you’ve been trying to let go of anger, or you’ve seen others who are not so bothered by people and things, as you are. Or maybe your loved ones are sick and tired of your hot-headedness. If so, I suggest drinking this all in, and listening further. . . .
For sure, we all get hurt, and we all get anger; we wouldn’t be human otherwise. But the trick is to get back to baseline as quickly as possible (suggestion seven). And so then stay with the hurt or fear or whatever it is that is causing us to get angry. Because if we hold on to anger, we will never get to the cause, be it hurt or whatever. And moreover, when we hold on to anger, it grows, it expands, and it gets bigger and bigger. Wherein, at that point, it becomes much harder to let go of. And then, more often than not, we get stuck. And wind up wallowing in the energy of anger. And here is where our perception of people and the world turns distorted. We become cranky, snippy, pissy, and distrusting. Basically, we become very unpleasant to be around. Sure, and again, we may be tired of being angry all the time, but just as importantly, everyone else is sick and tired of our anger too, most likely.
Here's another way at looking at it. . . not being able to control our anger is a character flaw. And although we might be the most generous, the funniest, the smartest, the wittiest, the most dependable, the most talented, the most productive, and the most reliable person on the planet, it only takes one major flaw to prevent us from having good relations, a successful marriage, and to climb the ladder at work or in our careers. Yes, that’s the brutal truth. And just another reason to get our acts together. Many have lost their job, marriage, and friendships over uncontrollable anger.
Indeed, anger issues have many layers. . . consider this, some of us like being angry, and so we justify it. “He was rude and disrespectful. I have every right to be angry!” And so either we lash out, which usually results in an emotional hangover and harm, or we give our offender the cold shoulder from that point on, and or de-friend them. Don’t justify your anger (suggestion eight), it stops us from seeing our role, and prevents us from personal growth. You see, anger makes us feel more powerful. It makes us feel in control. It makes feel right, just, and strong. That’s the attraction, that’s what pulls us in. And it’s so hard to resist that pull. But we must.
This is a good time to point out how many of us are under the illusion that anger and aggression are necessary to make a point or to get what we want. We are mistaken. We’ve been sold a bill of goods. We think that the ability to holler angrily at someone is some kind of strength. I am disheartened when I hear women say that men can express their anger with little or no consequence, but if a woman does, it’s frowned upon, that it puts a woman in a bad light. For sure, that’s unfair. Nevertheless, ladies, please, expressing your anger with aggression is not something to desire. It is men that need to learn how to express their anger more appropriately. Please don’t strive to be aggressive, hostile, angry beings. It’s not a something to aspire to, righteous anger is ugly, irrational, and destructive.
Additionally, without a doubt, one is more likely to listen to and hear a rational person speak over someone shouting, swearing, and spitting out their words right in their face. Think for a moment, if someone is speaking softly with confidence, it draws us in. When someone is screaming at us, we shut down and get defensive. We certainly don’t listen. We can’t. We are being blasted, and turn guarded. And so, keep your cool if you want to be heard (suggestion nine). Be controlled if you want to get something accomplished like social change, for instance.
Now, and lastly, don’t be so easily provoked, keep your cool. Most often people are trying to snag us, so don’t take the bait (suggestion ten). Get wise. Develop mind skills. You see, once we get angry, well, all bets are off. We lose our wits, the rational part of our brain shuts down, we lose control, we turn unwise and off-balance. And this is not a good place to be. More than that, it becomes habitual. Someone catches us off-guard with a wise crack remark, and bam, we snap back. We react, we punch back, so to speak. And these habits are hard to break. Yes, we can break them, but it takes determination, perseverance, and a daily practice.
I can go on and on about this subject. And I plan to in much greater detail someday. Whether that be in another podcast episode or some other medium. So please stay tuned.
Again, I will list and number all suggestive key points (10, I believe) at the bottom of the podcast transcript. You may find them helpful to have as a reference as you begin your practice. Just go to my website, carltvreeland.com, and simply sign up for a free membership, and access the Blog page for the transcript and all my other transcripts and essays.
And as always, thank you so much for listening.
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10 Suggestive Key Points:
- Don’t wait for the other shoe to drop.
- Practice pausing.
- When anger arises, nip it in the bud.
- Practice self-talk.
- Reflect at the end of the day.
- Stop the negative self-talk.
- Get back to baseline quickly.
- Don’t justify your anger
- If you want to be heard, speak softly and strongly.
- Don’t take the bait.